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Foreign secretary briefs IAEA Board, NSG members

July 19, 2008 01:27 IST

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Lobbying for the Indo-US nuclear deal, India on Friday briefed the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors and some Nuclear Suppliers Group countries on the safeguards agreement amid reports that there was no sign of opposition to the accord.

After discussing with International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Mohamed ElBaradei the text of the India-specific safeguards accord, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told the representatives of 54 countries that the text was a good one.

Among the 35 members of the IAEA Board of Governors, 26 are also part of the NSG.

The remaining 19 NSG countries were also invited for the special briefing held at a venue outside the premises of the IAEA secretariat in the run up to the IAEA Board's scheduled meeting in Vienna on August 1, which will consider the safeguards text for approval.

Approval of the India-specific safeguards agreement by the IAEA Board is an important step in the operationalisation of the nuclear deal.

The briefing, which was a closed door affair, significantly coincided with the third anniversary of the July 18, 2005, India-US civil nuclear understanding.

At the briefing, some factual and technical issues were raised by the delegates.

Menon is understood to have allayed apprehensions about the fallout of the pact on the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

ElBaradei, a strong advocate of the deal, also met US Undersecretary of State William Burns for talks on the nuke accord. Burns, the third ranking US diplomat, was despatched by the Bush administration for "consultations" on the nuke pact in an attempt to push the deal.

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